Archive | Flowers and Plants

Annual, perennial and interesting flowers with advice on culture, information, tips and recommended varieties

When is a Rose not a Rose

  • A rose is not a rose when it grows on an alien stem.
  • A rose is not a rose when it is converted into a bar of fragrant soap.
  • A rose is not a rose when it is the name of the Yorkshire morris dancing set White Rose Morris Men.
  • A rose is not a rose when it is a pinkish colour of paint .
  • A rose is not a rose when a knight stands from kneeling.

A rose is not a rose when it is a Lenten or Christmas rose!


Cactus Dahlia White and Bright

Bright & Breezy Dahlia

  • My Dahlias have been flowering early and successfully since the beginning of July. The white cactus plants are the most forward with the collarettes just starting.
  • I no longer leave the plants in the ground over winter as I have lost too many tubers to rot in the wet conditions we get in Yorkshire.
  • I store tubers in old pillowcases in the garage. Plastic bags would cause fungus and rot.
  • I divide up the tubers in early spring.  Some are easy to divide thus increasing stock. Other clumps of tubers need cutting into pieces all with a neck left on from last year. New growth comes from the neck not the tuber itself.
  • I start off the tubers in plant pots but I am too lazy to take cuttings which I am told would make stronger plants.

Dahlia Cut Flowers

  • There are as many cut flower tips as there are dahlia species. Dahlia are meant to be long lasting in a vase.
  • Keep your cut dahlias out of the sun and out of the heat.
  • Pick early in the day as with most cut flower.
  • Choose blooms that have started to unfurl – neither tight  buds nor fully open.
  • Place the Dahlia stems in  hot tap water then allow them to cool for an hour.
  • Use fresh water when arranging then change it every couple of days.
  • Remove any foliage from the stems to avoid it decaying in the water.

Garden tips

  • Cut back to encourage more stems and deadhead to encourage more blooms
  • Water well and regularly
  • Stake taller varieties
  • Give dahlias plenty of room


More and Better Californian Poppies

This is largely from a post I did in 2013 with some updates. Seeing the colour in my garden and watching the single flowers close up for the evening I decided to buy some more seeds for next summer (I hope I can find the space to do them justice) I opted for ‘Copper Swirl’ by TM and for an extra 99p I got ‘Golden West Californian Poppy’ thrown in.  I am tempted to sow half of each packet shortly although the blurb on the packet suggests waiting until Feb or March next year.

‘I like a brash colour in the garden and you can’t beat my favourite annual Californian Poppy. Eschscholzia californica is a bit of a mouthful but Californian Poppies and their family are well worth the effort.
Californian Poppy
The Californian poppy is an easy to grow hardy annual, which thrives in well drained sunny positions.

Growing Eschscholzia Tips and Hints.

  • Eschscholzia doesn’t like being transplanted at all, so it is best to sow in open ground. Eschscholzia have long soft tap roots that are easily damaged so take great care if you have to transplant them.
  • The main criteria for growing the Californian poppy is a well drained soil and sunny exposure.
  • Eschscholzia doesn’t need feeding and can thrive in the thinnest of soils. Gravel gardens are ideal.
  • They can be sown in October or early spring.
  • If they enjoy the conditions of your garden, it will freely self seed; it can even become a little invasive, although it is fairly easy to weed through just a light raking.
  • It is worth thinning the seedlings so that individual plants become stronger.
  • Continue Reading →

Half Standard Roses at the Seaside

Half Standard roses are grown on a 60-80cm stems. The selected flowering variety is grafted onto this stem. A spreading variety of polyantha or ‘fairy rose’ attains further  height of  2′. Clusters of bead-like buds open to globular, scented flowers which are most effective en masse.

Very often Half Standards are a better choice than full standards as they do not get too tall. Note how the half standard has been secured to the top of the stake.

By contrast ‘Full Standard’ roses are grown on a 3 foot stem. The flowering variety is grafted onto the stem and depending on variety will grow a further 3-5 foot Most full standards flower at or above head height.


Fuchsia from Autumn Cuttings


Fuchsias root very easily and it a simple matter to take cuttings both to increase your stock of plants and to protect them from winter losses.

Cuttings in September & October from Semi-hardwood.

  • I think this is the best method for those without a heated greenhouse.
  • Cuttings are taken late in the season when the bark has started to harden and ripen.
  • Select side shoots 6-10″ long and pull them off with a heel. A heel is a bit of the main stem attached to the base of the cutting.
  • Insert the cutting with 4-5 others in a 4″ pot
  • If growing several pots of cuttings plunge the pots into a tray of sand to keep them evenly moist and frost free.

Summer Cuttings from Green Tips

  • Select cuttings 3″ long with two or three pairs of leaves.
  • Cut the shoot just below the point where the lowest leaves join the stem. Trim off the 2 lower leaves and pot 2″ apart.
  • If taken in July, pot on the rooted cutting before winter. Do not worry if they loose there leaves in winter they will regrow from February.

Spring Green Tip Cuttings

  • Similar to summer cuttings they should be treated in the same way.
  • Pot on as soon as rooted in about 2-4 weeks.
  • Keep in gentle heat, shade from sun and gradually ventilate.
  • Stop the plants at 4 pairs of leaves to get bushy growth and flowers from June and the rest of summer.

Short Tip Cuttings in Heat January – March

  • This is the method used by our local nursery.
  • Overwintered plants are pruned by removing all green shoots. Then syringed with tepid water once a day to induce dormant buds on the old wood to shoot.
  • When new shoots have 3 pairs of leaves take the cutting leaving one pair of leaves behind.
  • Pot in a 3″ pot with 2-3 other cuttings and place in a propagator.
  • After rooting 10-14 days very gradually allow air to circulate.

London 2000

More Fuchsia Cutting Tips

Continue Reading →


Hardy Varieties of Fuchsias


Once established hardy Fuchsias need little maintenance. Growing outdoors they lose their foliage after frost and branches may or may not die back. However in spring they will send up fresh strong growing branches from the base or existing branch frameworks.
A big advantage of growing in the ground is that the unrestricted root run can produce an extremely  floriferous plant.

All the varieties we have selected below have the RHS AGM award.

Hardy Fuchsia Tips

  • Trim them back in late April not after flowering so that the twigs will protect the crowns from frost.
  • Spring pruning allows you to assess how fiercely you want to prune. Hard for a compact bush, gently for a larger shrub.
  • Generally having survived one winter Fuchsias will be successful for many years. All those below have been known to survive 5 years plus in the UK.
  • Give Fuchsias a slow release fertiliser in spring after cutting back. Then an occasional watering if they are very dry is all the other treatment needed.
  • Hardy Fuchsias come in a range of sizes, colours and shapes.

Smaller Hardy Fuchsias 1- 3 Feet Tall

  • Son of Tom Thumb with carmine and red flowers
  • Alice Hoffman with rose and white flowers and bronze tinged leaves.
  • Chillerton Beauty a vigorous grower with pale pink and violet flowers.
  • Conspicua deep red and white eye catching flowers
  • Dollar Prinzessing 18 inches tall with double flowers.
  • Genii with lime -yellow foliage and red stems but late flowering.
  • Heidi Ann less hardy but magnificent
  • Rufus the Red grows 24-30″ tall

Hardy Fuchsias 1- 3 Feet Wide

  • Annabel pink and white flowers on a trailing habit.
  • Empress of Prussia introduced in 1860
  • Garden News double flowers and surprisingly hardy.
  • Phyllis vigorous large leaved abundantly flowering plant
  • Mrs Popple introduced 1899 so it is a survivor.

Other Hardy Fuchsias

  • Hawkshead with white flowers and tall growing 3’plus.
  • Margaret Brown strong growing with smaller flowers.
  • Celia Smedley cream and flame coloured flowers on a strong plant
  • Species Fuchsia magellanica Whiteknights Pearl
  • Fuchsia magellanica ‘Aurea’ has bright golden foliage  with pendants of deep magenta


Books on Fuchsias from Amazon


Brambles or Blackberries Is it Just a Name

It is not a question of which name but Brambles and Blackberries should be thought of together as one is the fruit of the other.Looking carefully at this picture you can see young unopened buds at the top center with some flowers that have been pollinated and begun to show nascent green fruitlets which will turn into blackberries when they swell and ripen.

As with many fruit there is much in the breeding and plant selection and I recommend checking the availability of various selections 

Wild Brambles

  • Hedgerows and uncultivated land can become home to robust plants. They are often treated as weeds as for gardeners they have invasive tendencies.
  • Long stems or branches often overflow on to paths and the thorns or spines can catch the unwary.
  • Plants growing in sunshine can provide a large crop of fruit
  • Bramble jelly used to be made from wild collected blackberries.
  • In my opinion they make a good flavoursome crumble or mix well with apples in a fruit tart.
  • Flowers attract a range of bees and wasps which is essential for pollination.


What use are Daylilies?

Hemerocallis also called Daylilies

These are a popular perennial that can grow to 2 – 4 foot depending on variety and location. It dies back in winter only to regenerate with fresh green strappy, arching leaves in spring. The plant forms good clumps which can be split when they get too large.

Daylilies have a profusion of short lived flowers sometimes only lasting a day as the name implies. So many flowers are produced that there is a continual supply and each blossom bear close inspection as well as offering a good all round display. They normally flower from June to August.

  • Daylilies have given a wonderful show this year!
    Hemorocallis is a plant to look out for and to add to your collection.
  • For those who want a colourful display with lush foliage I can recommend Daylilies

Special uses of Daylilies

    • Plant them close to daffodils to help hide the dying foliage.
    • The plants like water so it is possible to use them by streams or in a bog garden using varieties such as Hemerocallis aurantiaca, (orange) Hemerocallis citrina and Hemerocallis minor a dwarf yellow plant with scented flowers.
    • The flowers are edible and can be added to salads or dried for use in soups
    • The latest new introductions will be more expensive when new but if successful will be available more cheaply in seasons to come
    • I grow Hyperion a yellow flower and want to try some bi-coloured plants like Franz Hals or Flore Pleno

Several varieties are shown here but many more can be seen on Google.

Daylily Tips

    • Available in many shades of yellow, gold, orange,red and bronze – try some from your trusted local garden centre.
    • Size of plant varies but choose your plant by the flower, its scent and how it is held above the foliage.
    • The plastic coloured identification label may not be true on some cheap plants.
    • It is OK to buy plants in flower as long as you give them plenty of water when planting and in early growth.
    • Propagation by division is easy and the success rate quite high but I don’t make each division too small.
    • Find out more at the Hemerocallis society


Poppy Parade


Poppies are easy to grow, sometimes too easy  because they self sow all over my garden and despite the delicate petals I thought of them as weeds. So much so that I forgot to photograph any earlier this year but now have captured some pictures of perfectly purple poppies.

These poppies were grown from scattered seed and plants are 4 feet tall and are producing lots of single flowers. If they are in the wrong place they are easy to pull straight out of the ground. The roots can be a foot long and carrot shaped but help to anchor the plant.

This is another poppy that is flowering well in my garden at the moment. I like the double flower for the lush petals but they are less use to bees and other insects. Continue Reading →


Pettinger’s Pelargoniums

Sorry this is not a new geranium nursery or supply business although I wish it was. It is  just a follow up and continuation of my earlier promise  to keep updating my new found enthusiasm for Pelargoniums.

Zonal geraniums from overhead.

This is a garden center photo taken 17th June 2019. The plants were in 4″ pots selling for £2.49. There was nothing to tempt me with this selection on quality, originality or value for money grounds.

From the ridiculous to the sublime I went to visit a more upmarket garden location in South London.

Geranium Update and Kew

  1. A trip last week to Kew garden chimed well with my recent pelargonium theme with a good display of many species. In the grounds they avoided the brash colour schemes of the familiar bedding plant varieties and had the best mixture of species in the Princess of Wales Conservatory.
  2. I was impressed with the greenhouse display of 8″ pots of several specific varieties including ivy leaved types.
  3. As an aside comment I arrived at Kew to queue in the June rain (what else). Next time I will book a ticket via the internet to gain rapid access. Due to the rain I bought a ride on the Kew train that provided a 45 minute guided tour of whole site. A worthwhile investment for the guides know-how and the ability to jump off and on during the day.
  4. Currently there is a Dale Chihuly  exhibit of luminous glass artworks set in Kew’s spectacular landscape and greenhouses.


London Mews and Georgian Terraces had some good flowering displays on substantial plants. They probably survive our winters due to shelter from the nearby buildings. As is my wont I failed to get the best ones photoed.


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